Does Running at Your Target Heart Rate Make You Lose Weight Faster?

Does Running at Your Target Heart Rate Make You Lose Weight Faster?

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Running with HIIT is an effective fat loss method.

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While you may start out your running routines in the target heart rate zone, eventually you'll need to replace this routine with a more effective weight loss routine. High-intensity interval training -- HIIT -- will take the place of exercising in the target range once you are able to handle the challenge. For faster weight loss from your runs, the days of only sticking to your target heart rate are long gone.

The Beginning Stage

Running at a moderate intensity of 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate is an effective method for you in the beginning of the weight loss process. For the first six to eight weeks of your weight loss routine, identifying and working within your target heart rate range is paramount to getting you accustomed to exercise, preventing injury and to building up your endurance. While exercising in your fat burning 50 to 70 percent range is effective, HIIT is even more effective.

Nine Times More Fat Loss

Endurance training at the target heart rate zone of 60 to 85 percent is less effective than HIIT. Thirty minute HIIT sessions more than 15 weeks result in nine times more fat loss than 45-minute endurance training sessions, according to These HIIT sessions consisted of 90-second sprints with 30-second walking recovery intervals between each sprint for a total of 19 sets.

Speed Up Your Results

For fat loss, running with HIIT is more effective than running in your target heart rate zone, according to a 2013 study published in the "European Journal of Applied Physiology." According to the study, young women who incorporated HIIT into their programs not only decreased body mass and body fat percentage but also decreased their waist circumferences. Since HIIT incorporates a combination of anaerobic and aerobic exercises, more fat is used because of the extended recovery time for anaerobic exercise.

But Don't Jump the Gun

HIIT is more effective than moderate-intensity target heart rate zone exercise but in some cases, high-intensity might not be your best weight loss option. Only incorporate high-intensity running after adhering to a regular running program. At this point, ease into HIIT with one session per week allowing your body time to adapt -- up to a maximum of three sessions per week on non-consecutive days. Special care and your physician's approval should be taken with ankle, knee and hip issues before attempting HIIT.


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